A new normal (14)

The first morning I wake up in the rental house, I am disoriented. I don’t remember where I am. Then the dogs come running into my room, bouncy and wagging tails, much too energetic for me in the morning. I let them out briefly, fill up their bowls, and make myself some tea. So far, my normal morning routine. And that’s the end of it. I have little food in the house and only one channel that comes in clearly for the morning news. I walk around the house, trying to familiarize myself with it. I check out the kitchen rental ‘package’: 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 glasses, 4 spoons, etc. Four items of anything won’t last even one day in a household of three adults. I need to start supplementing my kitchen. And the bathroom. And the laundry room. And the office. I need something to store the numerous receipts I’m collecting for later reimbursement. I don’t have pens, paper, tape, or scissors – all those miscellaneous items I usually take for granted.

Target is becoming my second home. Dishes, glasses, silverware, hair products, soaps, office supplies, and much, much more. I’ll need many more replacement items when I move back to my house, but I don’t worry about that now. I do worry, though, about money. I have received one reimbursement check for the first clothing expedition for my son and me, but now I’m using my savings and they are rapidly diminishing. Luckily, I work with some great people. When I first showed up at work after the fire, one of my colleagues pressed a generous check on me. I didn’t want to accept it, but Leigh insisted and I appreciated her caring gesture. I relented and said I’d cash it only if it was absolutely necessary. It became absolutely necessary sooner than I anticipated. My colleagues had also been taking up a collection secretly and presented me with a Visa card for $500. When I opened the card, I was flabbergasted and nearly cried, saved only by not wanting to embarrass myself at work. Their generosity helped me enormously in the first weeks.

As I go through the next few days in my new house and neighborhood, nothing feels quite like normal. I’m forced to rethink my routines and habits; it’s not comfortable. When I moved back to Austin 7 years ago, it was a fresh start – new house, new restaurants, new people, new routines – but like most people, I got into a rut all too soon. Now I have a chance to change things up, I tell myself. Take on some new routines, get rid of some bad habits, reconsider why I do what I do when I do it and how. Take time to reflect. Except it’s hard to find much down time with all the added tasks I face as a consequence of the house fire. When I come home from work, I just want to collapse on the sofa and turn on the TV. I’ve become one of those people I used to despise, but I’m too emotionally exhausted to do anything about it. Yet. Instead, I buy myself some flowers to cheer myself up as I head into the first weekend in my new home.

This entry was posted in Austin, Change, Colleagues, Dogs, Family Crisis, House, House Fire, Insurance, Money Issues, My Life, New Beginning, Personal Memoir, Rescue Dogs, Shopping, Uncategorized, Work Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A new normal (14)

  1. shoshwrites says:

    Thanks, Althea. I’d love it if the journal/blog proved to be publication-worthy, but it’s early days yet. There is a lot of writing to do first, and of course, increasing readership is helpful, not just for the ego [!] but for valuable feedback [please pass on the link to anyone you think might be intested]. I’m trying to post every day, so stay tuned!

  2. Althea Lee says:

    Are you planning to publish this once your life is back to “your definition of normal”? It is excellent writing, I’ll be waiting for the next chapter.

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